Social-ecological systems, social diversity, and power: insights from anthropology and political ecology

Fabinyi, Michael, Evans, Louisa, and Foale, Simon J. (2014) Social-ecological systems, social diversity, and power: insights from anthropology and political ecology. Ecology and Society, 19 (4). 28.

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A social-ecological system (SES) framework increasingly underpins the "resilience paradigm." As with all models, the SES comes with particular biases. We explore these key biases. We critically examine how the SES resilience literature has attempted to define and analyze the social arena. We argue that much SES literature defines people's interests and livelihoods as concerned primarily with the environment, and thereby underplays the role of other motivations and social institutions. We also highlight the SES resilience literature's focus on institutions and organized social units, which misses key aspects of social diversity and power. Our key premise is the importance of inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives. To illustrate this, we draw attention to the critique of earlier ecological anthropology that remains relevant for current conceptualizations of SESs, focusing on the concepts of social diversity and power. And we discuss insights from social anthropology and political ecology that have responded to this critique to develop different ways of incorporating social diversity and power into human-environment relations. Finally, we discuss how these social science perspectives can help improve the understanding of the social" in SES resilience research.

Item ID: 36024
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: anthropology; political ecology; power; social diversity; social-ecological system
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH)
Projects and Grants: ETH Society in Science - Branco Weiss Fellowship
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 04:13
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 80%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
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